When Paul Millsap missed a wide-open layup as the regulation buzzer sounded, it looked like the Wolves might actually steal this one from the Jazz. They had trailed Utah 92-80 with only 4 minutes to go before pulling off a miraculous comeback to force overtime. After a Pekovic basket tied the game with 0.7 seconds left, the Jazz ran a brilliant out of bounds play that nearly ended the Wolves hopes with a heroic shot. Instead, Paul’s heroics would come from steals in overtime (8 total for the game!) that sealed a win that Utah probably deserved all along.
Things were actually looking good for the first part of overtime. Wes Johnson (after a HORRENDOUS first four quarters of action) hit a pair of jumpers and pulled down a tough rebound, and had the Wolves leading 105-103 with 1:31 to go. But, the next Wolves possessions were as follows:
* With game tied, Luke Ridnour pass stolen by Paul Millsap.
* With Wolves down by 2, Martell Webster misses wide-f***ing-open corner trey.
* With Wolves down by 4, Paul Millsap steals ball from Kevin Love.
Each blunder was followed by Jazz points. Each blunder was inexcusable. So it goes.
A whole bunch of bullets:
* Ridnour, that last turnover notwithstanding, made A LOT of nifty assists in this game. He seemed to look for Pekovic frequently and found him rolling or sealing at the right times. Luke finished the game with 13 assists.
* Anthony Randolph Sighting! AR15 had 5 points and 3 steals in 12 minutes off the bench. He took the ball hard to the basket twice in the second half, each time not getting a call that could have been made. His biggest weakness right now is the rotation of big men that lie in front of him on the depth chart. All things considered, his play isn’t that bad. Those that incessantly rip on this guy are off base to some extent. Sure, his decision making will leave you shaking your head at times. But that happens with every player. Every other player doesn’t get you 17 & 8 per 36 on 50 percent shooting and hyperactive defense.
* Speaking of AR15 getting minutes, Coach went 10 deep tonight despite Mike Beasley being out with a sore toe. This cut deep into D-Thrill’s minutes. The rook played 16 total, while Randolph and Tolliver each played 12.
* This was Kevin Love’s best game of the year against Paul Millsap and the Jazz. But that isn’t necessary saying much. He took 23 shots to get his 25 points, numbers not befitting of his renowned efficiency. In three games versus Utah, he’s shooting just 29 percent from the field. Still, he did plenty of good things in this game (like pull down 16 rebounds) and can hardly be blamed for the result.
I’ll wrap this up with a brief take on the trade deadline (in)activity. The rumor mill had me and everyone else convinced that Mike Beasley was headed to Tinseltown in a three-teamer that would bring back two-guard chucker, Jamal Crawford. Jamal has plenty in common with Beasley as a jumpshooting player. One notable difference is that while Beasley at times seems conflicted about gunning, Jamal is unapologetic and perhaps unaware. He just chucks. And chucks. Would he have helped this team? Maybe. Maybe not. I have no idea.
But the reason that the deal did not happen is that one version had Portland requiring Luke Ridnour to come their way. If you have watched Luke play this year, you realize that this would not be a good thing. The other version had us taking on Derek Fisher’s contract, adding over $3 million to next year’s payroll. No thanks. There are legitimately-good wing players available in this coming free agency. Ray Allen, Eric Gordon, O.J. Mayo, Nic Batum. I don’t know which the Wolves prefer most, but I have to believe they’ve got eyes on those guys and want as much dough as possible to toss their way. With Ricky out for this season, a rash decision to run at the 8-seed–particularly one that might not even be an upgrade over what Beasley provides–would have been a mistake. No trade was fine with me.
Season Record: 22-22